Category Archives: United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Oxford & Photography

I was in Oxford this week, always a beautiful city to visit. Here’s a couple of highlights.

First, the Museum of the History of Science. It’s a fascinating place, with a vast range of exhibits. MHS houses an unrivalled collection of early scientific instruments in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building, the Old Ashmolean on Broad Street, Oxford.

As a photographer, I was of course most interested in the wonderful camera collection.

The museum has two cameras used by Lawrence of Arabia. He graduated with a First in Modern History from Oxford in 1910. Later that year, Lawrence had a camera built for him specifically for taking high-quality photographs of crusader castles. It is this “archaeological” camera that is now in the Museum’s collection. Here it is:

 Oxford Science Museum

Then, I took in the view from the top of the Sheldonian Theatre. This is the official ceremonial hall of the University of Oxford. Whilst I had visited Theatre before (including for the first ever TED Global event), I had never climbed the stairs to the roof. The cupola on top looks oddly out of place, though there’s a magnificent 360 view across Oxford.

This image was taken towards the bridge at Hertford College.

Herford College

I also paid a visit to the Oxford Photography Festival. It’s an ambitious endeavour, with exhibits spread across the Colleges, Museums and Halls of Oxford.

The Festival is on until October 5th – well worth the trip!

Nunney Fayre with the D810

Continuing to explore the Nikon D810 on the streets, this time at Nunney Street Market & Fayre.

Using the Nikkor 35mm F/1.8, the camera is fast, quiet and relatively unobtrusive. As in previous tests, the new 5 point Group Area AF mode worked a treat with moving street subjects. It’s a perfect street image tool.

Images post processed in Lightroom with Silver Efex Pro.

The Bathampton Morris Men




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On the Street with the Nikon D810

These days, the Leica M9-P is my street camera of choice. This week, though, I upgraded my Nikon D800 to the new D810, courtesy of Gray’s of Westminster.

Gray’s have apparently been taken a bit by surprise at how many D800 owners are trading in, as the improvements, whilst marked, seem modest. That said, the improvements touch every aspect of the camera’s use, and it feels different from the first shot. Nikon succeeded in making an already excellent camera better.

So I decided to take the D810 for a spin on the streets of Bath, where  I have been doing a series on the very vibrant and varied street performer community. I used a 50mm F1.4 prime – which I have had since the days of the Nikon F4s film camera. It’s perhaps a bit softer than I would like, but a decent all-round lens.

The first thing I noticed was the subtle shift in ergonomics, with a more comfortable grip, and a marginally lighter camera than it’s predecessor. All in all, very comfortable to use. Modest changes to the control layout all seemed intuitive and a step forward, too. Internally, there’s a new 36.3MP chip, new shutter, Expeed 4 processor for 25% higher fps, and Nikon have eliminated the Optical Low Pass Filter, which should give technically sharper results.

The D810 was set on aperture priority, at 400ISO. I also used Nikon’s new Group Area AF mode – a 5 point array, positioned as needed. Other cameras have had such before, so it’s a bit surprising Nikon waited so long. But, better late than never (it’s used on the new Nikon D4s, too).

When shooting, the camera is faster … and much quieter, with the brand new shutter design. I don’t have the data, but it has to be the quietest DSLR around, and honestly seemed no more noisy than the Leica. So, a great street tool. Certainly, no one jumped at me, as sometimes people do when faced with an SLR and a  monster zoom :-)

The results are what counts, of course. All were taken RAW and then processed in Silver Efex Pro via Lightroom, my usual workflow.

Joel Grainger

Joel Grainger

Al Libby

Al Libby

Jerri Hart

Jerri Hart

I also shot indoors, which showed off the all round usefulness of the D810 in a  candid situation.


It’s early days, but the verdict has to be “excellent”.

Nice job, Nikon.

Original colour images at

Led Zeppelin – 1970

I have just been lucky enough to receive the three remastered Led Zeppelin albums – Led Zeppelin I, II and III.

I am listening to them now (on quite loud, of course), as it’s the only way possible to hear these ground-breaking works. Without doubt one of my very favourite bands, and I was lucky enough to see them in their heyday.

I took a few pictures of them with a very simple, plastic Hanimex 35mm camera. I think this was my first 35mm camera, as I only started using an SLR later that year.

They were taken at their first gig at Leeds University, in the Refectory on January 24th, 1970. The band had an enormous touring rate, yet still had amazing energy.

I was told by the University archive people that these are some of the only surviving images of that gig. They aren’t great images, despite trying to rescue them with today’s software! But I thought I’d share them.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

I also just read an excellent article in Slate by Jack Hamilton – “Good Times Bad Times: Modern rock didn’t start with Dylan or the Beatles. It started with Zeppelin

It’s a great read, for anyone interested in music, and the pictures are better too!

And if you haven’t caught up with this yet, get the Led Zeppelin II Remaster.

Lead guitarist Jimmy Page was always a good producer, so I am not sure how much better this remaster is on the final tracks. But the companion disc of outakes and early versions (especially of “Whole Lotta Love“) is superb listening.

Led Zeppelin 2

Style (with a purpose) on Saturday

Hampstead Colour Wash -5

Wandering around Hampstead yesterday, on a very pleasant and chilled Saturday, I came across this stylish lady collecting for the Children’s Hope Foundation.

She talked to everyone, catching some unawares, but always with a smile.

Hampstead Colour Wash -4

She had a canny way of talking to passers by, with an infectious personality and a positive word to say about everything.

Everyone stopped.

And she had a style completely her own.


Leica M9 and Noctilux F/1.0 50mm, post processed in Color Efex Pro.